[ATTENDED: March 9, 2016] Alyssa Garcia
When I heard that the Crash Test Dummies were playing at Sellersville Theater, I was pretty excited to go. I’d really liked them years ago (God Shuffled His Feet is an amazing album still). But I also knew that Brad Roberts was a kind of vulgarian. So I was really surprised to see a family with two small kids sitting in the row in front of ours.
I didn’t know the opening act (her name was actually misspelled on the bill, sadly).
Well, it turns out there was good reasons I didn’t know her. She is 16 and recently won the 2015 Philadelphia Songwriters Project Final Showcase. Turns out the young kids in front of us were her family.
Alyssa had amazing stage presence (I want to say “for someone so young” after just about every sentence, but I’ll refrain, because she was simply good regardless of her age). She chatted with the audience, told us about her life, sold merch at the back table and, most importantly, she played five or six beautiful songs.
The melodies were fairly simple–I actually expected a little more showoffy flair for a person who has been playing piano since she was 5, but that clearly wasn’t her goal. She was writing pretty songs to get her words across. And it was her voice that was so captivating.
I was especially delighted to hear that she wasn’t following a traditional pop route. Her voice wasn’t all vibrato and histrionic. She wasn’t trying to win American Idol. Rather, she was singing very personal (she says the songs are like her diary), quite lovely (and well written) lyrics.
Her voice reminded me a lot of Regina Spektor, whom I love, so I was really happy to sit back and listen to her sing. Interestingly, when I went to her website later, I saw that Regina Spektor was listed as one of her favorite musicians! (along with Sara Bareilles, Ed Sheeran, and Ingrid Michaelson).
She was a delightful singer and performer and I wish her much success going forward.
Check out her website and learn more about her (and maybe order a CD or two).